People always say that cooking a healthy meal is extremely difficult. This is simply not the case. There are a ton of recipes out there that will teach you how to cook delicious low calorie meals. Their secret, as you might suspect, is to reduce the amount of oil that is used, and the amount of fat in the ingredients. Furthermore, most also advocate for a reduced amount of salt, and for good reason too.
While this might be the case, we all know that recipes are usually not “push button” formulas. A lot of things can go wrong when you are blindly following a recipe. When the recipe states that you should “Boil for 5 minutes”, you might need to add another 5 minutes in real life to get the same effect. It can be annoying and frustrating, but hey, it’s the way the world works.
Although it might be easy to simply follow a “healthy cooking, healthy eating, fat loss” recipe, the fact is that such recipes are often restricted and limited to what they want you to come up with. There is no room for creativity if everything is just “push button”. You might as well be a robot if you want to follow such a system devoid of independent thought.
What if I told you that you can still make a healthy and delicious meal even if you think of yourself as a dummy in the kitchen? And no, I am not going to write you a recipe with 20 different ingredients, some of which you might not like. Instead, here is a simple formula you can use that will give you a delicious and healthy meal.
Basically, all you need are these five main elements combined in the right ratio:
One – The Staple Item
This is your standard staple which is usually made up of carbohydrates. Examples include rice, noodles and pasta. If you want more fibre, pick the “brown” varieties. However, I understand that not everyone will find the taste palatable. Reduce the amount of staple if you are trying to lose weight.
Two – The Accompanying Sauce
If you are going to have a staple, you need a sauce to go with it. There are limitless possibilities with this one. There are tomato-based or cream-based pasta sauces, oyster-based Asian sauces, Indian-style Rogan Josh etc. The most important point to note is that you want the sauces to be as low-calorie as possible. So, whether you are buying pre-made sauces or mixing up your own, always ensure that you use less oil. Reduce the amount of sauce if you are trying to lose weight.
Three – The Vegetable Item
Whether you like vegetables or not, you should always include some in your meal. Not only are most vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, they are also really low in calories. I don’t care if it is fresh or frozen, some vegetables are better than none. If you are trying to lose weight, substitute some of the other items with vegetables.
Four – The Protein Source
For most people, the protein source would be meat. If this is the case, try to pick better cuts that contain less fat. The only exception is fish, where fat is not necessarily a bad thing. Vegetarian hippies like me will have to turn to beans, pulses, soy, tofu and lentils for our protein source. Here is one thing to be aware of: most food items with protein also contain fat and carbs. Don’t pile on your protein source if it is also a food item that is high in fat!
Five – Flavourings, Herbs, and Spices
Strictly speaking, most flavourings are calorie-free. A bit of dry basil, cumin or turmeric will not break the calorie bank. While these may not be a determining factor in your weight loss endeavours, it will make a difference to the taste of the food. That is why you have to master this art.
So there you have it – five things you need for a healthy meal. For more information on cooking healthily and NOT being restricted to meal plans or recipes, check out the Strategic Nutrition Guide, which is also part of the Granite Fitness Solution, Travel Fitness Solution, and Granite Fitness Masterclass.
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